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Conference offers lessons on energy conservation to benefit bottom line

Steve Cannizzaro, with General Dynamics, speaks at the conference. The Pa. Strategic Energy Management Showcase was held April 7, 2015, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and manufacturers from across the commonwealth presented at the conference.
Steve Cannizzaro, with General Dynamics, speaks at the conference. The Pa. Strategic Energy Management Showcase was held April 7, 2015, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and manufacturers from across the commonwealth presented at the conference. CDT photo

Lights turned on in an empty room burn two things — energy and money.

Even if you’re not concerned with energy, chances are you have a stake in your bank account.

About 200 business people with an interest in energy and bottom-line savings attended the 2015 Pennsylvania Strategic Energy Management Showcase, organized by the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program on Tuesday at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

The U.S. Department of Energy, the state Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania manufacturers presented information about International Organization for Standardization 50001 and superior energy performance at the conference.

ISO 50001 is the international standard for an energy management system based on a plan-do-check-act model.

The standard builds on U.S. EPA Energy Star practices that help businesses and individuals save money and to be sustainable through energy efficiency.

“It’s a framework for managing your energy, and it includes managerial aspects like training and operational controls, communication and documentation,” PennTAP senior technical adviser Ralene Molina-Kreiser said. “On the flip side of that, there are technical aspects that address documenting your energy use and monitoring data to measure your performance.”

SEP is a certification and recognition program that builds on the ISO 50001 framework of the energy management system and adds a measurement and verification protocol for energy savings. The program offers silver, gold, and platinum designations based on the level of energy performance improvement attained.

U.S. Department of Energy technology manager Paul Scheihing discussed examples of the manufacturing industry’s impact on energy costs.

“The typical manufacturing plant in the United States is equal to about 3,000 homes, so when manufacturers save energy they’re helping to keep everyone’s electric and natural gas bill down,” he said.

He also explained the differences between saving energy at home and at manufacturing plants.

“In homes you can turn lights off when you don’t need them on, control the thermostat, insulate your homes, fix all the leaks around your house and carpool or take mass transit,” Scheihing said. “Businesses are more complicated. In manufacturing plants a lot of energy is used to heat things, and managing processes in the facility involves engaging many people in the facility on how to optimize energy.”

It’s a venture not easily accomplished without everyone on board.

“If you have a good sports team and they have a good game plan, they still need to work in concert to march toward the goal,” Scheiling said. “ISO is the game plan to manage energy. Everybody in the organization needs to know what their job is to save energy and save costs, and they need to do it.”

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